There’s a great line I often recite: “I call complacency the most insidious disease in the world; it just sits there on your shoulder and tells you whatever you’re doing is OK.”
Why is complacency not only bad but also so inherently deceptive? Because it’s a crutch and a truly duplicitous lie that keeps us operating at the status quo, which in effect, is never enough to succeed. (As you know, one of my other favorite sayings is, “Once you think you know it all, your slide to mediocrity has already begun.”)
But complacency is more nuanced than just having a cavalier attitude motivated by unchecked ego. It’s an actual state of being that prevents us from progressive, transformative change. Modern business—across all industries—is altered every day by disruptive technologies, innovative hacks and the fast-moving evolution of heightened consumer expectations. In such a fickle environment, complacency is one of the worst traits a leader can possess.
One of the best traits, of course, is persistence, and when coupled with goals set high, it leads to accomplishment. I’ve been going to Mike Ferry’s Superstar retreats since 1986—that’s 32 years if you’re counting—and I return each time because I need to rid myself of any lingering complacency by being surrounded with top performers who are driven to continually push themselves beyond the limits of what they think they’re capable of achieving. Low expectations lead to complacency. Mediocre goals lead to complacency. A lack of motivation or an unwillingness to change leads to complacency and Mike doesn’t stand for any of it. Neither do the high, high producers who sit in the audience at his events.
“Surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher,” Mike said.
Isn’t that the truth?
One of the best ways to remove complacency from your mindset is to put yourself in a situation where you are continually confronted with those who are self-motivated, inspired and most importantly, inspiring. “Want to raise your confidence?” Gary Vaynerchuk, social media guru and CEO of our ad agency of record, VaynerMedia, once asked, “Stop hanging around people who don’t want to win.”
So, what’s the message? To eradicate complacency from your life, you have to spend time with leaders who are simply doing more and doing it better — like the crowd at Mike Ferry’s Las Vegas retreat. Remember, casualness creates casualties. A non-complacent mindset requires taking risks, facing challenges and fostering a mindset that doesn’t settle on the laurels of your last success. As Mike Ferry said, “Have high goals and keep pushing yourself to succeed.”